“How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars?”
I recently read a quote from Dale Carnegie. He was telling his listeners how to get over the fear of public speaking — by simply doing it.
Did you ever notice in looking from a train window that some horses feed near the track and never even pause to look up at the thundering cars, while just ahead at the next railroad crossing a farmer’s wife will be nervously trying to quiet her scared horse as the train goes by?
How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars—graze him in a back-woods lot where he would never see steam-engines or automobiles, or drive or pasture him where he would frequently see the machines?
Apply horse-sense to ridding yourself of self-consciousness and fear: face an audience as frequently as you can, and you will soon stop shying.
How would you cure a child who is afraid of violence, and wants nothing to do with it? Apply horse sense. Expose him to violence in the news you watch in the home, the things you watch on the telly, the video games he plays. The more realistic the depictions of violence, and the more often he is exposed to it, the less shocking violence will be to him. God has put in us a revulsion for violence, but you can apply horse sense and de-sensitise your child, and maybe he’ll get over it. You won’t make him violent by doing such things, that’s something he’ll decide for himself as the years go by, but you can take away his fear and self-consciousness over it, one of his built-in protections against it, and instead of it being horrible and shocking to him, you can give him a fascination for it.
How can you cure a young child of innate shyness about sexual matters? Apply horse sense. Expose him to sexual content in entertainment and video games. Bring pornography (or tabloid newspapers, which is virtually the same) into your home. Maybe you’ll slip up and he’ll see it, too. Let the schools teach graphic material under the guise of sex education long before he’s ready for marriage and commitment. Let him listen to juvenile news readers sniggering about sexual matters as if they were twelve years old (yes, I’m talking about you, BBC). Just apply horse sense. You won’t make him immoral, you can’t make him father children out of wedlock or engage in all kinds of perversion. He’ll make those decisions himself someday. But if you apply horse sense, you can put temptation in front of him, and instead of keeping up barriers that would have protected him from destructive (and self-destructive) behaviour, you can certainly tear them down.
Make sure he has lots and lots of exposure to boasting and arrogant sportsmen, singers, and entertainers, to the elements of society that shun humility and exalt pride. You can’t guarantee that he’ll be proud, but you can expose him to enough proud behaviour that he won’t find it shocking anymore. Just apply some horse sense.
You can’t make a child grow up to be an angry man, but you can model anger around him until it doesn’t shock him any longer. You can’t force him to be selfish, but you can do your best to teach him that selfishness is normal life, so it won’t bother him so much when he sees it — or practices it. Apply horse sense, and things will usually come around.
Of course, we could always apply horse sense to ourselves, too, and increase our exposure to sinful influences. We’ll become hardened to it, so it doesn’t shock us anymore, and maybe we can silence our own conscience long enough to commit those sins ourselves. Horse sense doesn’t just work for our kids, it works for us, too.
Of course, we could apply horse sense in a positive way, bringing positive influences into our lives and those of our children, and being positive influences, so that a Scripture-centred life, loving behaviour, kindness, speaking the truth, integrity, etc, are not shocking, but expected. It won’t make us, or our children, behave in certain ways — eventually, each person will make his own decisions, of course.
But we CAN have a lot of choice in what becomes “normal” for us and our family. A little bit of horse sense might go a long way.
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
I Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.